Thinking about painting as a part of life, what if a painting can be furniture?… Can it surround us everyday?… Can abstraction be a tool? Can it have a use? ”  

Artist Sarah Crowner is inspired by mid–20th-century avant-garde artists whose work combined dance, theatre, fine arts, and design. Their fusions broke down the divides between media—and between art and everyday life. Crowner based this curtain on a 1956 theatre backdrop by Polish artist Maria Jarema, composing it from large pieces of fabric she painted then sewed together. For the artist, this “highly physical way of creating paintings” brings the body into the work, an element that further develops when it becomes a backdrop for performance.  

Throughout the run of the exhibition Conversation Piece, dancers from Boston Ballet Company II will perform a choreography by Boston Ballet principal Yury Yanowsky, courtesy of Boston Ballet. Together with the painting, these dancers activate gallery space, noting how body language and other forms of artistic expression are powerful tools for communication. 

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Photo by Olga Khvan


Performance Art at the MFA is supported by Lorraine Bressler.